Police seize stun guns bought online

Have your say

A STUDENT illegally bought two stun guns on the internet to protect his girlfriend who was being racially abused in Sheffield, a court heard.

Kariuki Mathu decided not to report the harassment to police - and instead ordered two stun guns and an incapacitor spray from a US website.

But the Sheffield Hallam University student was arrested for importing illegal weapons after his package was intercepted by Border Agency staff at Coventry Airport.

Sheffield Crown Court was told Mathu, of Napier Street, Sharrow, Sheffield, did not know he was doing anything wrong when he placed an order for the items online.

Nicholas Neale, defending, said: “The defendant was living in Sheffield with his girlfriend, and around March she told him she was being harassed near where they were living.

“She was suffering racial abuse and threats of violence. It was a fairly rough area. She asked him to look into getting some protection.”

Mr Neale said Mathu, originally from Kenya, thought about going to the police - but decided to take control of the situation himself.

He said: “The culture from which he comes does not trust the police in the way we do here.

“It was a genuinely naive act.

“There was no warning on the website that there may be any difficulty in importing these items.”

He said Mathu had no previous convictions in the UK and had a certificate of good character from the Kenyan police.

Mathu pleaded guilty to three counts of improperly importing goods and was given a three-month jail term, suspended for two years, with 150 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £340 towards prosecution costs.

The maximum penalty for the crime is seven years’ imprisonment.

The sentencing judge, Recorder Patrick Palmer, told Mathu: “If there was the least suspicion these weapons would be used in a criminal offence you would be going to prison for very many years.

“It is an exceptionally serious matter to import weapons.”